Calgary man sentenced nine years for killing mother in alcohol-fueled psychosis
Calgary Courts Centre
Chasing his mom down and then shooting her in the back of the neck in an alcohol-induced psychosis, has landed a Calgary man a nine-year prison term.
Justice Beth Hughes said Andrew Douglas Murray's slaying of his mother fell into the highest range of manslaughter cases.
But she also said his guilty plea, expression of remorse, and desire to rehabilitate his alcohol addiction all weighed in favour of a lower sentence in that range.
"The range of sentence for manslaughter with this degree of culpability is eight years and up," Hughes said.
The Court of Queen's Bench judge said there were also aggravating factors which called for a significant term.
Murray, 32, pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in the Oct. 14, 2013, death of his mother, Lois.
"The victim was Andrew's mother, a person who (she) should have been able to trust .. to keep her safe," Hughes said, adding the killing was in the woman's own home.
She noted the woman's death has had a devastating effect on the Murray family.
"Lois Murray's death has torn her family apart," Hughes said.
"The impact is profound and devastating and continues today," she said.
After pronouncing sentence, Hughes provided Murray with a transcript of his comments he made to the court during sentencing submissions, in which he vowed to rehabilitate himself.
"You said that the best way that you can honour your mother is by your sobriety, I wish you all the luck," the judge said.
Murray had been in and out of addiction centres, but continued to drink up to the time of his mother's death.
On that day he went to the basement of the Murray's Ranchland's home, removed a shotgun from a locked safe and then retrieved two shells from another secured locker.
When his mother saw the weapon she fled, but he chased her down and after she fell and was attempting to get up he shot her once in the back of her neck.
Following his arrest, Murray told police he had been hearing voices telling him his mother was going to kill him.
Crown prosecutor Susan Kennedy -- who sought a sentenced in the 12-15 year range -- noted Murray was diagnosed as suffering from an alcohol-induced psychosis, either from consumption or withdrawal.
Outside court, defence counsel Jillian Williamson said while she and co-counsel Jim Lutz had sought a lower sentence for their client, Murray was not disappointed with the outcome.
"Mr. Murray was satisfied with this sentence because he felt that anything lower would upset his family," Williamson said.
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